You just purchased a shiny new suitcase for your overseas adventure…
… only to find out not only did the airline lose your luggage – but when they finally located it – it was absolutely destroyed.
But before you leave the airport dragging along your suitcase with its broken handle to your UBER – make sure you follow our tips below on what to do next.
The first thing you need to do is stay – that’s right – DO NOT LEAVE THE AIRPORT!
I get it, it’s annoying.
Maybe you’re tired after an exhausting flight and just want to get to your hotel and sleep.
But if you have any hopes of compensation – you need to take photos of your damaged baggage at the airport so you can file a claim.
The Points Guy reported:
“Passengers can, and should, file a claim with the airlines for any damages to the bag(s) and their contents,” said Douglas Kidd, executive director of the National Association of Airline Passengers, a nonprofit organization that names “improved policies for lost and damaged luggage” among its goals.
“Be aware, however, that the airlines’ Contract of Carriage may severely limit the extent to which the airline will reimburse a passenger for such damage,” Kidd said.”
So where do you find out what the Contract of Carriage says for the airline?
It is on their website.
For example, United instructs its passengers to take the damaged bag to their Baggage Service Officer who will inspect the bag and give you info to file the claim right at the airport.
If you left the airport and discovered your bag was damaged within 24 hours – you can still file a claim… but you have to bring your bag all the way back to the airport so they can inspect it.
What a nightmare!
On international flights, United gives you 7 days to report the damage in writing or to a Baggage Service Officer…
… but what a bureaucratic nightmare.
Not to mention – as they “inspect” your bag – their website warns that overpacked bags or unstable luggage aren’t eligible for compensation – so be prepared.
It’s annoying, right?
This is one of the main reasons why we tell you not to check a bag!
If you want to try a different route – see if your credit card covers damaged luggage – it might in your travel benefits.
Going through your credit card could be a more painless option than dealing with the airline directly.
And if you think damaged bags are a rare occurrence – they aren’t.
“Nearly 220,000 bags were “mishandled” by U.S. airlines in April 2022, meaning they were lost, damaged, delayed or stolen, according to the most recent data published by the U.S. Department of Transportation.”
That’s a whole lot of bags!
One lady even died when the airline allegedly damaged her wheelchair and wouldn’t replace it.
So if you must check a bag, be prepared, and consider checking a used bag in good condition instead.
If they damage a used suitcase passed down from your big brother, it will hurt a lot less than your brand-new designer bag that returns to you with broken zippers and handles.
But if it all possible – pack light and smart – and just avoid checking a bag altogether.
Has an airline ever damaged your bag while traveling?
What did you do?
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